‘Clybourne Park’ wins 2012 Tony Award for Best Play

by KENNETH JONES, Playbill.com

Clybourne Park, the dark comedy about race and real estate, and Once, the Dublin-set musical that uses actor-musicians to tell its love story, were named Best Play and Best Musical, respectively, at the 2012 Tony Awards ceremony on June 10.

The 66th annual awards that celebrate excellence in the Broadway theatre were held at the Beacon Theatre (technically not a Broadway house) on the Upper West Side.

Revivals of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward & Dorothy Heyward, also won Tonys as Revival of a Play and Revival of a Musical, respectively.

Bruce Norris previously won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Clybourne Park, a play inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (he acknowledged her in his acceptance speech).

The play borrows an incident from Hansberry's groundbreaking 1959 play about an African-American family moving into a white suburb. In Act One of Clybourne Park, the white family selling to that black family gets criticized by neighbors. In Act Two, set in 2009, we see another shift in the same neighborhood, in the same house, leading to a fiery discussion of race, history, property and economic power.

Norris said in his acceptance speech, "I have to thank Lorraine Hansberry, who actually built the neighborhood of Clybourne Park; we just moved in and depressed the property values." The play had its world premiere at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons in 2010; it was also produced in London and Washington, DC. The Broadway company is a reunion of the Horizons cast and creative team, including Tony-nominated director Pam MacKinnon.

The 2012 Tony Awards are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. The Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards are bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement.

(Kimberly Faith Hickman was the Assistant Director for Clybourne Park)

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